Leyte Samar Daily Express
TACLOBAN CITY – Former Biliran Congressman and former Naval mayor Gerardo “Gerry” Espina Sr. finally broke his silence being one among the four accused in a double murder, frustrated murder, attempted murder and grave threats cases filed by Charlie Chong, father of Rep. Glenn Chong of the lone district of Biliran.
In a press statement, Espina strongly denied allegations that he is responsible for the alleged ambush of the elder Chong resulting in the death of two of his bodyguards.
“I strongly condemns the machinations, maneuverings and insinuations of the Congressman’s family which are malicious, unfair and unjust and that I will seek justice for this wrongdoings against my person and that of my family in the proper forum at the proper time,” he said.
According to Chong’s complaint, respondents Jerry Espina, SPO2 Renato Saul of the Biliran PNP provincial Office, PO3 Jovito Cabillan and PO1 Charlie Ando of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) have allegedly conspired to commit the crime in the evening of June 7 killing on the spot Chong’s body guard, Alberto Parilla and Antonio Barcelo and wounding Jose Casas, the driver.
Espina said their respective counter-affidavit was already filed before the prosecutions office of Naval where the criminal charges filed by Chong was originally filed.
Espina’s counter-affidavit dated July 25, 2008 maintains his innocence, saying that in the evening of June 7 when the incident happened, he was watching Pinoy Idol, a singing contest on GMA -7 for his granddaughter Greschen was among the contestants.
It was only Eduardo Gaviola, the Barangay Captain of Atipolo, Naval and Espina’s office manager Reggie Nierra who were using mobile phones asking where he was, Espina said. He was still in his room when Gaviola arrived.
A few minutes later, Espina said in his affidavit, Gaviola and himself together with companions and some others were seated outside the house when Naval Coucilor Victor Del Rosario Jr. told in Cebuano, saying “Sir, ikaw na pod niini ang pasanginlan gamiton na pud nila ni sa pulitika.”
An interview with Chong heared over Bantay Radyo practically accussed Espina and his family as being behind the shooting.
The two other witnesses of Espina, Rosario and Ireneo Merced corroborated their statement that Espina was in his residence when the incident occurred.
Because of this incident, Espina who lost in the 2007 election in the congressional race against Glen Chong, admitted before this paper he might go back to politics if his health will permit.
“Depende sa health ko, but still planning to go back to my political career,” Espina said.
The complaint was filed at the provincial prosecutor’s office in Naval in connection with a shooting incident that killed Alberto Parilla and Antonio Barcelo and wounded one Jose Casas, all security officers of Rep. Glenn Chong. The complainant, Charles Chong, believes that he was the target of the assassination attempt.
The complaint is backed up by affidavits of witnesses executed by Joly Ignacio, SPO Isidro Ancero, Ernesto Jusayan, a joint affidavit was also executed by Jose Gaviola and Graciano Calixtro, Bernardita Padoga, Rodel Baraja, Bonifacio Vero, Raul Villordon, Felicisimo Garcia. There is also a corrected affidavit of Nestor Chong, joint affidavits of Norly Barotol and Marion Merced and a few others that support the complaint.
Espina claimed in the same press statement that he served the country for about 21 years including a stint as deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and that he has not been known as one prone to violence.(By MIRIAM G. DESACADA Staff Writer)